$1.2 Trillion (With A ‘T’) Is What Experts Think Automakers Will Spend On EVs And Batteries By 2030


Today’s all about electric cars and batteries and the amount of money car companies are gonna spend, the headwinds they’re gonna face, and all the raw materials the world is gonna need to pull it together.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

One (Point Two) Trillion Dollars!


Reuters put out an analysis this weekend that says automakers are going to spend $1.2 trillion dollars by 2030 on electric vehicles, which makes sense when you consider all the plants they’re building.

From the news site’s analysis:

The EV investment figure, which has not previously been published, dwarfs previous investment estimates by Reuters and is more than twice the most recent calculation published just a year ago.

To put the figure in context, Alphabet, the parent company of Google and Waymo, has a market cap of $1.3 trillion.

Automakers have forecast plans to build 54 million battery electric vehicles in 2030, representing more than 50% of total vehicle production, according to the analysis.

To support that unprecedented level of EVs, carmakers and their battery partners are planning to install 5.8 terawatt-hours of battery production capacity by 2030, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and the manufacturers.

To put that in context, Ford spends about $142 billion a year on everything it does.

We Don’t Have Raw Earth Materials For The Above Yet

The last century, in many ways, was shaped by the search for fossil fuels. It’s what has powered the world, and the possession of these resources (or access to them) was and is key for governments. The coming century will see a shift towards the raw materials necessary to make all the batteries for all the cars that all the governments say companies will have to make.

Automotive News points out that the International Energy Agency determined that this means roughly 50 more lithium mines, 60 more nickel mines, and 17 more cobalt mines just to meet the 2030 EV projections.

And here’s some more cold water from the Automotive News report:

Sourcing the necessary metals will be a daunting task, said J-P Martins, a partner at consulting firm Partners in Performance. Not only are some materials found in just certain corners of the world, when it comes to sourcing them locally, time will be an added challenge: Getting a new mine up and running in the U.S. can take as long as a decade.

“The big hurdle to meeting these goals,” Martins said, “is where on Earth are all the materials going to come from?”

Over the past year and a half, the Biden administration has been attempting to answer that question by spurring more domestic mining and processing of critical battery materials, both of which are dominated by China and other nations. This year, the administration invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act to encourage companies to mine lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt and manganese domestically, allowing companies access to federal funding to do so.

The “Earth” part of that quote kind of answers the “where” part in that great quote. In our hopeful and reasonable yearning for a future powered by relatively cleaner fuels we’re going to end up doing some more damage to it. On balance, maybe it’ll work out. The alternative is reducing demand by creating greater density in cities, improving transit, and adjusting our behaviors.

Since that’s not gonna happen, let’s dig some more mines to make more Teslas!

Well, Maybe Not That Many More Teslas


One of the debate’s during Friday’s TMD was whether or not Elon Musk was being entirely truthful when he said that logistics had more to do with smaller numbers of deliveries than demand, especially in China. There’s probably some truth to both perspective and a coming price war isn’t just indicative of softer demand, it also reflects an increase in supply as more and more companies enter the fray.

Again from Reuters this weekend:

China Merchants Bank International (CMBI) said Tesla’s price cuts underlined the growing competitive risk for EV makers in China, with industry-wide sales projected to slow into 2023.

“The price cuts underscore the possible price war which we have been emphasising since August,” said Shi Ji, an analyst with CMBI.

CMBI analysts warned last week that 2023 would bring more competition to the EV sector, saying it expected to see sales growth for EVs and hybrids on a combined basis to drop below 50%.

Tesla is the most valuable car brand in the world, but it isn’t the only one. If I’m going out for ice cream and they have Pecan Praline for $6 and Mint Chocolate Chip for $5, well, I think I’d be happier with the Mint Chocolate Chip and the dollar.

A Major Bogey


Let’s take a break from all the EV talk for a fun one from Fox 5 NY in my favorite category of golf stories: The Prize That Wasn’t A Prize. Here’s the report from Fox 5:

Austin Clagett sunk a hole-in-one at the Morrilton Country Club.  And expected to get the keys to a Ford F-150 courtesy a local dealership.

Little did he know, the hole-in-one would launch a legal battle.

The car wasn’t awarded to him after all, and he filed a lawsuit against the country club and the dealership.

“When it was Austin Clagett’s turn to try to get a hole-in-one, Austin Clagett hit the ball and it went in the hole on the first attempt,” a news release from the law firm of Denton & Zachary said, via KATV. “


It seems that the dealer is now claiming that the truck was only there for “advertising purposes” because they couldn’t get insurance for the truck fast enough (I’m assuming prize insurance in the off chance someone does what Clagett did). Per the Fox 5 article, the dealership also claims they didn’t know that the country club involved posted the prize on Facebook.


I think we all know how this is going to end.

The Flush

I’m tired this morning because I stayed up late celebrating the Astros victory. With the World Series coming up someone is going to walk away with a brand new car for being the MVP of the series. For instance, Stephen Strasburg got a C8 Corvette. I believe GM is a sponsor again this year so, assuming you were the MVP of the series (let’s assume Jeremy Pena) what vehicle from the GM lineup would you want?

Photo credits: Top GM, GM, Tesla, Faulkner County Courts

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

60 Responses

  1. Well I have a CT5 Blackwing on order, so I obviously wouldn’t mind one of those.

    However, I only ordered it because C8 Z06 orders are a shitshow like nothing I’ve ever seen before, so given the choice of a free car, I’d rather have the Vette.

    An Escalade V would be awesome too.

      1. I’m lame and went with white because I think it looks best with the interior color I chose (light gray) and because I already have some fun colors on my vehicles (red, orange, blue, green) and don’t mind something boring this time.

        1. I mean for your specific purposes this is essentially your everyday car, so I don’t fault you for that decision. Plus white cars don’t get as hot, which is a big benefit if you live in a hot sticky place like I do. I’ve messed around with the CT4V Blackwing configurator a few times and have come up with some lower spec builds I could probably afford if I really wanted to.

          But I can’t lie, I’m loving the Kona N more and more every day and she’s cheap date to boot. I think I’ll be sticking with it for several years at this point and continuing to save up. I got a big promotion and 20% raise recently, and the jalop in me instantly went to MOAR CAR, but I’d rather wait for a greater reward and continue to beat the snot out of my car that I bought two raises ago.

          1. You’re liking your Kona N that much, huh? My girl friend recently got a Limited (I think) with the 1.6 turbo, and damn if it isn’t a nice little car. The dealership I work for, our sister store has one as the loaner, and I’m halfway considering checking it out when they move to sell it. I had been looking at the Sonata N Line, but it’s just too much money for me

            1. The Kona in general is a useful little package. It’s stylish, has enough space, is compact enough to use in the city, etc. Unless you or your passengers are well above the 6 foot mark there shouldn’t be any issues with head and leg room. It’s a car that stands out in a class that’s as generic as it gets.

              Obviously I love the N and would recommend going that route because of what a raucous good time it is…I think both the Kona and Elantra N punch way above their weight as far as fun and driver engagement go. But as a package in general the wife, dog, and myself have enjoyed the Kona experience a lot.

  2. 1 and 2: if I didn’t know any better I’d say we’re really putting the cart before the horse when it comes to EVs.

    …oh wait, we are. Don’t get me wrong-I’m not some sort of EV hater and I think the advancement of the technology is going to play a sizable role in reducing emissions. But I think all of this corporate and political grandstanding over them is ridiculous when we really have no idea what the long term environmental consequences will be.

    The car may emit nothing once it’s purchased-but the process it’s made by sure isn’t carbon neutral. For the billionth time-we’d make much more progress in our fight against climate change if we actually decided to hold corporations and governments accountable. The majority of carbon emissions are produced by a few companies and the air travel industry…and the US military’s carbon footprint is absolutely unreal. You also have many countries that basically say “f it” when it comes to green energy and will pollute recklessly if it helps them advance.

    But nope…why hold any of them accountable when we can guilt trip individuals into switching to EVs even though people driving ICE cars are tiny drops in the proverbial bucket. At the end of the day it’s all for show.

    3: Tesla may be a juggernaut right now but they’re going to have to adapt. The biggest reasons they’ve been as successful as they are is that they’ve been the only game in town and they’ve positioned their cars as status symbols. Other manufacturers are quickly catching up, and they haven’t updated their products in years…not to mention ole dollar store Tony Stark/apartheid emerald mine lucky sperm cartoon villain come to life Elon is way too high on the smell of his own farts to consider improving his cars.

    People will move on if the products don’t adapt to stay relevant. As of right now Tesla’s entire lineup is dated in pretty much every way other than range…and they’ll even be dated on that front in the next 18 months or so…not to mention the conspicuous consumption/clout chasing crowd can easily be wooed by the next fad…and I think the shiny, blinged out new range of Mercedes EVs will prove to be pretty enticing to them.

    We’ll see what happens…either way it’s going to be interesting.

    4). Give this guy his truck you cowards. Dealerships needed to go the way of the dodo 20 years ago. They’re just not necessary anymore.

    Le Flush: for me it’s the Z06 by a landslide but either of the Blackwings are acceptable answers as well.

    1. 1 & 2: In the wise words of the little girl from the taco commercial: “Por que no los dos?”

      Switching to EVs doesn’t mean we also can’t hold other large entities like the gov’t and corporations accountable, and we absolutely positively should.

    1. Not nearly enough, sadly. The demand for for the materials that go into lithium-ion batteries is (and will continue to be) so incredibly much higher than it ever was before, that the stock available in already-extant products is barely a drop in the bucket. Plus, batteries (the main possible source for recycled materials) turn out to actually be really difficult and expensive to effectively recycle. There are definitely people working on the latter part of that (making batteries easier to recycle) but it’s a tricky problem. In the short term, second-life systems like grid storage farms made up of racks and racks of partially-degraded car batteries might be one of our best options, in terms of reducing demand for new batteries and extending the useful life of existing ones.

      None of this shit is simple, and none of it is perfect. The question to ask is, when stacked up against the legacy of climate change, pollution, exploitation, and war that fossil fuels have given us, are renewable energy systems an improvement? I would argue that they are a massive improvement, despite the very real problems that they do have.

  3. “The big hurdle to meeting these goals,” Martins said, “is where on Earth are all the materials going to come from?”

    In other shocking news, water is wet, the surface of the sun is hot, and so on and so forth.

    “whether or not Elon Musk was being entirely truthful when he said that logistics had more to do with smaller numbers of deliveries than demand”

    Is he speaking? Then he’s lying. It’s that simple.

    “CMBI analysts warned last week that 2023 would bring more competition to the EV sector, saying it expected to see sales growth for EVs and hybrids on a combined basis to drop below 50%.”

    Where by ‘competition’ they mean ‘dictator Winnie the Pooh is putting his thumb on the scales.’ Please pay no attention to the Renmibi and all RMB-denominated bonds crashing through the floor (below 2008 crash levels even) less than 24 hours after Winnie the Pooh cemented his position as dictator for life.
    Oh yeah. Shit is about to get real.

    I am so fucking exhausted of living in ‘unprecedented times’ when every single one is a bad copy of recent fucking history.

    “It seems that the dealer is now claiming that the truck was only there for “advertising purposes” because they couldn’t get insurance for the truck fast enough (I’m assuming prize insurance in the off chance someone does what Clagett did).”

    The shop I worked at did a not totally dissimilar marketing stunt once. If the local sports team went to the finals, there was some big prize. I forget what – either a free car or something like that. To run that promo, they literally had to get a bunch of bookmakers to give them odds on the team making the finals, and then they had to take out a supplemental policy based on the value of the car and the ‘risk’ of the team going to the finals.
    But at the same time, you don’t have to take insurance on it. You can choose to just eat the loss. Your partner can handle the costs. It’s not an absolute requirement. And when you partner with someone to do that, you accept that they have an obligation to promote it unless you put in the contract that they aren’t allowed to.

    So yeah. Fuck this dealership. Congratulations to Mr. Clagett on his hole in one, and I look forward to them having to give him a brand new F150. (Please pick one in a color, not grayscale.)

    1. Not that Musk should ever be taken at his word, but other than the S it’s currently a many-month wait for a Tesla if you order one today, so it’s pretty clear that supply’s still not keeping up with demand even if it’s not as drastic as a few months ago.

    1. C8? Go drive one, if you can. The C8 is really cool, and I only got to ride in the passenger seat.

      I went in thinking “another GM for boomers with money to burn” and left realizing that the C8 is a 100% legitimately desirable car.

      If offered a C8 or Porsche 911 of equal MSRP that I had to keep for life, I’m not sure which I’d choose. Probably the Corvette! (If resale was an option, the Porsche is the easy choice.)

  4. EV price wars? Maybe that’ll mean quicker adoption and less fine particulate from gas motors in large cities.

    Flush: gimme a Hummer. It’s the current hotness. Plus, someone else will want it when I get tired of it being giant and hard to live with daily.

      1. Once the big Chinese EV companies like Nio or Xpeng or Great Wall’s ORA come onto US soil, they likely won’t need the tax credit to be competitive. They’ve figured out how to make a smaller, cheaper EV that isn’t a penalty box. And the way the American EV market is, they won’t have competition at that lower end.

        1. But if there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on it will be that we shouldn’t allow Chinese EVs.

          Also, I think people will be shocked at how low demand will be at the lower end. EVs are synonymous with luxury vehicles right now. The entry level ones aren’t in demand. When’s the last time you saw an article about how Ford can’t make enough Lightnings or how long the line is for an R1T.

          Now when’s the last time you saw somebody complaining about the wait for a Bolt “EUV”? Answer: Never. In fact they’ll pay you to take one. https://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2022/06/no-need-to-wait-until-2023-2022-chevy-bolt-euv-and-bolt-ev-are-already-discounted.html

  5. The alternative is reducing demand by creating greater density in cities, improving transit, and adjusting our behaviors.

    Since that’s not gonna happen,

    I live somewhere that is (slowly) doing all those things. My commute is 5 miles. My wife almost exclusively WFH. I hope my next will be BEV. I love driving, love the roar, when I smell race fuel burning on the street I usually follow it because it makes me happy and I’m stupid? I would also like to leave my child a world where climate isn’t changing so fast we can’t adapt agriculture quickly enough to feed almost everyone. Why am I wrong?

    1. As the years go by i’m realizing america may always drag it’s feet environmentally.One has to wonder where that will end?The whole world hating america is the likely answer.
      BTW, not sure you know already but liquid fuels can be made from fully renewable resources.Your favorite race fuel can still absolutely be a thing.

  6. Okay… so they’re probably gonna collectively spend $1.2 trillion dollars by 2030 on BEVs.

    But has anyone considered what those automakers would have spent anyway doing routine updates and redesigns… and then subtracted that from that $1.2 trillion guestimate?

    And at least after they spend that money, they’ll have vehicle tech that will be around for a long time… and is likely to provide a lot of payback for a long time into the future.

    And that makes me think of bad investments automakers have made and will never get a payback on… such as the money GM wasted on the Blackwing V8 and the Zeta platform.

    Or all the money so many car makers wasted (and some continue to waste) on the dead-end that is hydrogen.

    Or all the money Mazda and others spent on rotary engines… that were also a technological dead end.

    Or the money FCA wasted on the ‘Georgio’ platform… as well as trying to make Fiat succeed in North America.

  7. When I saw ‘A Major Bogey’ and guy holding a golf ball, I was expecting to read how this poor guy put a golf ball through the windshield of a truck. Glad that’s not the case—and I expect Autopian to follow this matter and let us know how it’s resolved!

  8. The hole in one prize is simply that someone forgot (or decided not) to buy the one-off insurance policy that pays for the car in the unlikely event that some goober does the improbable. In typical dealership fashion, their screwup becomes someone else’s problem. And they end up looking like assholes, and then when forced by law or public opinion, doing the right thing.

    1. It’s only recently i’ve become aware of these types of insurance.Apparently almost anything is insurable.
      A couple of years ago in my favorite motorsport (motocross) a team got a huge payout because their rider *won* the championship.It sounded completely back to front to me!
      But it actually makes sense.Basically the teams are insuring against having to pay out win bonuses.

      In this particular case the situation got weirder because the insurer under priced the coverage. The payout was something like 3 million from a $50000 cost! Prices have quadrupled since then

    2. The insurance part of this is nuts. I remember discussing this with a friend in the industry years ago. It’s quite profitable for the insurance industry. They are effectively gambling; the house always wins!

      What disturbs me is that insurance is a category that is associated by most people with stability. You buy protection from instability, you buy disaster recovery, etc. Yet here are these companies also just running a casino.

      Something, something, speculation and betting couldn’t possibly do any macro economic damage, EVER!!

      1. Stability and gambling are not mutually exclusive when the risks are not proportional.

        You pay a relatively small (yet almost always negative EV) premium to avoid a small chance of a catastrophic loss.

        Capping your downside is worth paying something for, even if most end up losing in the long run.

      2. Someone I listen to (planet money? Freakanomics? Else?) Had a bit about the extent the insurers go to in order to not pay out when someone hits the hole in one. Not just interviewing witnesses, there are clauses requiring video, they remeasure everything including altitudes and distances for any chance to say “NOPE!” Not unusual for insurance companies to find a way to make car dealerships look clean.

      3. You’re wrong.
        Insurance companies are absolutely not risking the economy somehow by “gambling”. In fact they stabilize economies if they’re big enough!
        For example a huge loss in one part of the country is offset by profits from everywhere else.

        Think of insurance as a way for us policy holders to share risk *between ourselves*.The companies take fee (their profits) for running the whole arrangement, and everyone is happy.

  9. We’ve positioned the car as central to American life, and moving to EVs isn’t really a solution by itself. If we massively expand public transit, try to plan less sprawl, and promote more walkability, we could reduce the number of cars needed, which would do far more good than simply pushing the same number of vehicles to electric. It’d also reduce traffic for those of us who actually want to drive.
    Even if most people still kept a car, less driving and fewer two-car households would be an improvement. But we gotta keep consuming, so the capitalist solution is always going to involve selling more shit.

    1. Counterpoint: transit strikes, pandemics, emergency evacuations, rising crime, flexibility. All expose the inherent weakness in mass transit: they don’t care about you. Density is another issue (the USA mostly lacks it.) I’ll keep my cars, thanks.

          1. Naw, I’m capable of reading. The majority of Americans live in “cities” and cities are where mass transit works. Path dependency is not a reason to continue on with unsustainable personal motor vehicle based infrastructure. Sure it might take decades and a lot of money but it also took decades and a lot of money to dismantle the existing comprehensive public transit of the first part of the 20th century.

            If you like cars that’s fine, but let’s not pretend that motor vehicles are affordable, rational, or sustainable transportation for the majority of people.

            1. “If you like cars that’s fine, but let’s not pretend that motor vehicles are affordable, rational, or sustainable transportation for the majority of people.”

              Huh? Some 90% of American adults own cars. One hardly needs to be a rabid car enthusiast to dispute who is “pretending” here.

              1. Correlation is not causation. Currently, our cities are organized such that non-motorized transport (NMT) is actively hostile for a majority of users, myself included. I’ve lived in both kinds of places, with and without kids and hands down the NMT-friendly places are much nicer, which is why they cost more for housing. We as a society can absolutely change how we do zoning, vehicle taxation, and transportation network design to make NMT and mass transit feasible. Also, the argument that people like cars is belied by how many people buy truly boring appliance vehicles because they need to get to work and they don’t have another choice.

                1. That isn’t the point I was disputing though.

                  If cars aren’t rational or affordable for the majority of people, one wonders why 90% of adults own cars, and why the pro mass transit position is typically a minority one.

      1. If you’re gonna get scared every time someone mentions mass transit, please finish reading the comment I made. I’m not talking about taking your car away. I don’t believe for a second that we could get most of America out of cars entirely. I do believe we could do a lot better at reducing the overall reliance on cars. Even if you expect emergency evacuations and need the flexibility of cars, reducing the total miles driven and being able to have a single household car instead of one per adult or driver would be a massive improvement over simply trying to replace gassers with EVs.

        And it would help those of us who enjoy cars, not just with traffic reduction, but with flexibility. If you didn’t need a true daily driver, how might your vehicle buying habits change?
        I know that I would look at things differently if my primary vehicle didn’t have to cover my commute and my travel. I’d probably take trips over to see my parents via train, if that were an option. I could have something far less efficient and more fun.

        1. Not scared of it at all, but it doesn’t work very well in the USA. I’ve watched it fail in a very expensive ways — repeatedly — in the west. It’s a nice fantasy, but it turns out it’s cheaper to have a car if you want to reliably get somewhere. Higher density housing *sounds* great until something big/bad happens, at which point everyone wants to get out of town. See: NYC during COVID, Mr_Stabby. And San Francisco. And…. well, pretty much every other metro area. They’re fragile, and the world is getting less stable.

          You’re welcome to put yourself at the mercy of urban infrastructure that our government (of any stripe) has a disturbing ability to not maintain. Not interested personally.

          1. A lot of why it doesn’t work well is the pushback against it by a variety of interests, combined with poor urban planning and low commitment to expansion and maintenance. The fact that both higher urban density and better public transit do work well in other places (Europe, Asia) suggests it is not an insurmountable issue.
            And, again, no one is telling you to rely entirely on public transit. Just that it would reduce reliance on cars to improve public transit. Which also helps drivers who don’t utilize it. Fewer cars on the road is better for people who want to drive.

    2. “If we massively expand public transit, try to plan less sprawl, and promote more walkability, we could reduce the number of cars needed…

      The problem with that idea is that in the U.S. you have (at least) 100 years worth of housing built around a decentralized model. Most of today’s public transit (outside NYC et al) require you to use some other form of transport to get to the train station. Thus the train stations must be built (as say here in Dallas) with lots of parking around them, or alternately have outlier parking lots like Airports where you shuttle bus to the train station. Then, at least in Atlanta (where I’m familiar with the story) Major malls (Lenox Mall in Atlanta) successfully lobbied to keep the train station a mile distant from them. It’ll take at least another 100 years to change that. Americans like their backyards and won’t surrendercthem for apartment life quickly.

      “But – Japan!”, you say. Well the infrastructure built up very differently in Japan. It was built around the train stations because people didn’t have cars. So the stations became commercial hubs and growth points because people HAD to take the trains. This pattern is self-reinforcing so even today, Housing prices increase directly with proximity to a station. Further many stations have department stores and clusters of restaurants built atop them making them desirable destinations. This works because most of Japan’s population is clustered in urban areas. Yet, even with this incredible population density trains are only barely profitable. My friends who live in Yokohama just bought a car…that they really don’t “need” because it is so much more convenient.

      Finally the train-station-centric model is only true in Japan’s major cities (the Tokyo Metroplex, Kobe, Nagoya, etc). In the city where my in-laws live (about 250,000 people) a commuter train system does not exist. Everyone drives cars or if they must, takes buses or taxi’s.

      So in summary, I think that the “get rid of cars and have everyone trains everywhere in America” dream is simply that a dream.

  10. My mom won a truck 22+ years ago at a dealership. No one could believe it at the dealership and she kept thinking it was a scam of some kind. She still has the truck.

    My dad also won a car (Chrysler Crossfire) at a casino in Las Vegas.

    I’ve never won anything. *sad trombone*

  11. “I think we all know how this is going to end.”

    I hope Mr. Clagett enjoys the coupon for a $5,000 discount off of the $15,000 ADM that the Ford dealership will offer him. And that his ambulance chaser enjoys the legal fee settlement he gets in the suit that he took on contingency.

    Congrats on the hole in one though. You’ll remember that for the rest of your life!

  12. Lithium isn’t a rare element — there’s quite a lot of it on Earth’s surface. If batteries are going to require a lot of mining of something, we could do worse than it being lithium. Cobalt is a different story — but fortunately, it isn’t actually required in some battery chemistries. Tesla uses none in their LFP batteries.

  13. “Per the Fox 5 article, the dealership also claims they didn’t know that the country club involved posted the prize on Facebook.”
    Funny, considering various reports that the dealership liked and shared the country club’s posts about it. Sure, it could have been an over-eager social media staffer, but I suspect everyone involved just assumed no one would win. And “couldn’t get insurance fast enough” probably just means no one thought about it. Or they did, and they just assumed the odds were in their favor.

Leave a Reply